it’s such a joy watching a musician grow. when sharon van etten released her debut album because i was in love, i remember being captivated by her voice and simply amazed at how she managed to summon such fullness of expression in the subtlest ways, something i was naturally drawn to considering the record’s simple vocals/guitar format. epic, van etten’s newly released follow-up album, continues building itself around her voice as centerpiece, but daringly steps out towards a richer sound and a wider musical palette. there’s a stirring confidence too in both arrangement and delivery, most evident in the punchy stomper “peace sign”, a teaser perhaps for the shape of things to come. album closer “love more” finds her in more familiar territory, her meandering voice hauntingly close by, refusing to fade into the distance with every repeated verse reinforcing the previous one, tying together with such resolute melancholy an album that shows even further glimpses of what van etten is capable of achieving. – dan.
epic is out now on ba da bing! records.